Thursday, March 16, 2017

How to Make Delicious Homemade Tonic Syrup That Will Pass the Taste Test- Sous Vide Cocktail Recipes


What is Tonic Syrup?

Tonic syrup gained its name from the effects of its bitter flavoring. Tonic syrup (without soda or carbonated water) can be a blend of many different things, depending on the preferred recipe. Bitterness is used to balance other flavors, such as sweetness or the taste of gin. On the other hand, tonic water originally contained only carbonated water (soda water) and a large amount of quinine. Tonic water usually now has a significantly lower quinine content.

Quinine powder was so bitter that British officials stationed in India and other tropical British posts, began mixing the powder with soda and sugar. They did this to neutralize the ingredient's aggressively bitter flavor, some avid drinkers added sugar and carbonated water—hence tonic water was born. At that time, cinchona bark and quinine powder is used as herbal treatment and prevention of malaria.

In the early year 1800s, the Gin and Tonic was created. The mixed drink gin and tonic originated in British colonial India. Since the most common liquor imbibed by the British at the time was gin

Did you know? The first commercial tonic water was produced in year 1858. 

Modern day or avant-garde mixologists have recently started turning to bottled tonic syrups or homemade tonic syrups, which they mix with gin and sparkling water to build a new-age gin and tonic. Professional mixologists prefer tonic syrups because concentrated syrups make it much easier to control the sweetness in cocktail mixes.


High quality ingredients like the bark of the cinchona tree give it an authentic rust color and a distinctive flavor to the tonic syrup that is sure to impress your friends and your discerning taste. Although the idea of making your own tonic syrup might seem overly ambitious and needed extra effort, if you’re willing to go all out for the best Gin and Tonic of your happy life, this homemade concoction will blow commercially prepared versions (think Canada Dry, Schweppes, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.- Small Batch Tonic Syrup and others) out of the water. 

The difficult part of this recipe is buying best quality cinchona bark, which is what makes tonic, a tonic. Although it is not a readily available ingredient, it can be found in specialty stores or can be ordered fast and easily online at, click it here... organic cinchona bark

It is also available at Kalustyan’s, Address: 123 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10016 USA; Phone: 1-800-352-3451 (only in the US) or +1 212 685 3451; Fax: 1-212-683-8458; E-mail:; Schedule: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 8 pm EST Sunday and Holidays 11 am - 7 pm EST

MAKES 1- 1/2 cups

SOUS VIDE COOKING TIME: 1 hour (or up to 2 hours) 
ACTIVE PREP TIME: 10 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes to cool


2 cups sugar

2 cups water
1/2 cup (2 ounces) cinchona bark
Zest of 1 grapefruit, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler, including some of the bitter white pith
1 tablespoon dried lavender (optional)
1 teaspoon citric acid powder, or 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice


1) Preheat your sous vide water (using Sous Vide Immersion Circulator) bath to 60°C (140°F).

2) Place all of the ingredients in a freezer-safe gallon-size Ziploc bag and seal using the water displacement or table-edge method (please refer to the procedure below). I recommend the latter method for recipes with a relatively large amount of liquid.

3) When the water reaches the target temperature, lower the bag into the water bath and cook for 1 hour.

4) Remove the bag from the water bath and chill in an ice water bath (please refer to the procedure below) for 30 minutes, in the freezer for 1 hour, or in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

5) Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bottle or mason jar to remove the spices. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 2 months.



1) Water Displacement Method. To achieve a proper seal and get most of the air out of a bag without using an expensive vacuum sealer, I recommend the water displacement method (aka Archimedes’ principle). Place the food (including any marinade or sauce) in a freezer-safe double-sealed Ziploc bag. 

Submerge the open bag into the water with only the seal exposed. Everything below the zippered closing should be covered with water. The barometric pressure of the water will force most of the air out of the bag. When the liquid rises to just below the zipper, seal the bag. You should feel and hear the “click-click-click” as it closes. It is like sous vide music to the ears, assuring you that no water will get into the ingredients. When placing a lot of small items in a bag, strive to arrange all of the pieces in a single layer, without overlapping. This ensures that the pieces will cook through evenly. Once the bag is sealed, run your hand over the pouch again to distribute the contents uniformly before placing the bag in the water bath.

2) Table-Edge Method. Sealing bags that contain liquid, such as soups, syrups, or alcohol infusions, can be awkward, but here is a hassle-free solution that I call the table-edge method (very scientific sounding, I know). Pour the ingredients into a freezer-safe, double-sealed Ziploc bag and partially close the seal. Hold the bag against a table (or counter), with the liquid hanging down and the top of the bag (with the zippered closing) on top of the table. Use the edge of the table to push down on the liquid and then push out any remaining air from the top of the bag before sealing closed.


Minimizing the time window for bacterial growth is the key to safe sous vide cooking. For that reason, if you are going to refrigerate food cooked sous vide (rather than eating it immediately), I recommend first rapidly chilling the bag in an ice water bath. When I talk about using an ice water bath to chill food, I do not mean a few ice cubes floating in a bowl. To cool food down efficiently, you want the coldest water possible, which means adding enough ice to bring the water all the way to 32°F. The addition of salt will lower the freezing point of water, making an even colder bath possible. This same principle also enables you to churn ice cream without a machine. The following instructions will produce an ice water bath ideal for chilling your sous vide foods, but do not feel obliged to follow it slavishly. Think of the ratio as a rough guide.

1) To make a proper ice water bath, fill a large bowl with ice cubes and add cold tap water equal to about half the volume of ice. 

2) Next, add kosher salt equal to about one-fourth the volume of water and then stir until the mixture is very cold (it will be about 28°F within about 30 seconds. The ratio is 1 part salt, 4 parts water, and 8 parts ice, so for a 4-quart bowl filled with ice, add 8 cups cold tap water and 2 cups kosher salt.

If you are already into sous vide cooking for a long time or just an enthusiastic beginner, you might want to download this. It is quite handy. Get it now… Accurate Sous Vide Cooking Times- PDF Free Download

How to Use Tonic Syrup You Made

In a highball glass over ice, combine 3/4 oz tonic syrup with 1- 1/2 oz vodka or gin. 
Top with 3 oz seltzer.

What is Cinchona Bark?

Cinchona or Peruvian Bark. Cinchona is best known as the source of quinine, which for centuries was the most widely taken antimalarial remedy in the world. A Jesuit missionary first documented it in Peru in year 1633. Bark of the trunk, branches, and root contains alkaloids, especially quinine. The bark of the trunk is most commonly used medicinally. Various Cinchona species are used medicinally, including C. calisaya, C. ledgeriana, and C. officinalis.

Key Actions:

1) Bitter

2) Antibacterial
3) Tonic
4) Reduces fever
5) Stimulates the appetite
6) Astringent
7) Antimalarial
8) Antispasmodic

Traditional Medicinal Uses and Current Uses of Cinchona

As a medicinal herb, cinchona bark is also known as Jesuit's bark or Peruvian bark. The bark is stripped from the tree, dried, and powdered for medicinal uses. The bark is medicinally active, containing a variety of alkaloids including the antimalarial compound quinine and the antiarrhythmic quinidine.

1) Digestive Stimulant. As a bitter tonic, cinchona stimulates saliva, digestive secretions, and appetite, and improves weak digestive function.

2) Gargle. Cinchona is useful as a gargle for sore, infected throats.

3) Muscle Spasms. The herb is used in herbal medicine for cramps, especially night cramps. It also relieves arthritis.

4) Indian Remedy. In India, cinchona is used for various conditions, including sciatica, dysentery, and problems with kapha.

5) Antimalarial. Cinchona, and in particular quinine, were the principal remedies for malaria until the First World War. From the 1960s, resistance of the malarial parasite to the synthetic drug chloroquine led to quinine’s use once again in preventing and treating malaria. Quinine is also used to treat other acute feverish conditions.

6) Traditional Remedy. The indigenous peoples of Peru have taken cinchona for many centuries, and it is still a well-used remedy for fevers, digestive problems, and infections.

7) Homeopathic Proving. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, prepared the first homeopathic medicine, or proving, from cinchona in about 1790.


Andrew Chevallier. 2016. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 3rd Edition.  DK Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1465449818

Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Author), Alanna Hale (Photographer), Martha Holmberg. 2014. The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique. Chronicle Books. ISBN-13: 978-1452113845

Lisa Q. Fetterman. 2016. Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals. Ten Speed Press. ISBN-13: 978-0399578069

Watch Related Cocktail Video: Tonic (Quinine) Syrup from the Cocktail Dudes

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